How do I know if my cat is bored?

About 10 minutes ago, my cat was bored. I knew he was bored because he started doing stupid things. He started to run around. He dived under my bed and then jumped out of it. He went behind the curtains looking wild eyed. He then sat hunched on the ground looking a bit bemused. He then decided to go outside into the garden to entertain himself. It was apparent to me that he didn’t quite know what to do to alleviate the boredom. He therefore decided to run around as an apparent instinctive response. He came back inside about 10 minutes later, still bored. Still doing daft things. He is looking at me now. He’s asking what can I do to make his life more interesting. He’s on my lap now interfering with typing this. He’s settled down, to kill time.

Cat crazies
Cat crazies. A sign of boredom. Photo in the public domain.
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When the weather is bad, as it is now, cats can get a bit bored if they are normally allowed outside. They are confined to the inside because cats don’t really like going out in bad weather. This means they can become bored because their usual activities are curtailed. The conclusion is that the best symptom of feline boredom is the cat crazies as people call them. A point worth mentioning is that boredom can lead into stress if it is particularly bad. And stress leads to health problems.

People think it’s amusing when their cat dives around all over the place, sliding around on hard floors going bonkers. There are plenty of videos of it. And it is amusing but I am convinced that the reason behind it is boredom. Domestic cats need to be challenged. They are not far from the wildcat in that way. Wildcats are constantly challenged. They have to be in order to survive. They are constantly working out how to find prey, track it down and kill it. This is instinctive and it’s in the DNA of domestic cats.

So, there is an inherent need, I believe, in domestic cats to be mentally challenged. So often they are not. And I think one problem is that the news media promote this concept that domestic cats sleep all day. They think that they are happy to snooze and sleep and do nothing all day. There are all these articles about how long domestic cat sleep, like two thirds or three quarters of the day. It’s all a myth in my opinion. Cats do not sleep for these long hours. They snooze. We know it because they are constantly alert. Watch their ears swivelling.

And they are snoozing because they have nothing to do. They are killing time. And if I’m right, there is a massive catastrophe of unstimulated domestic cats all over the world. Particularly in the most developed countries and I have to say particularly in America because cat owners have to keep their cats inside in that country because of coyotes and other predators of cats.

Cat crazies
Cat crazies. Pic in the public domain.

And I’m sure that Jackson Galaxy would back me up on this, which is that you have to stimulate the domestic cat. You have to meet their natural desires in order to reactivate their mojo as he calls it. He describes the ‘Raw Cat’. He is referring to the wildcat within the domestic cat. He has an acronym HCKE. I can never remember what it stands for so I have to look it up in his book Total Cat Mojo. I’ve just found it. It means hunt, catch, kill, eat. He calls this the “anchoring foundation of Raw Cat Rhythm.

He writes that HCKE “is not about providing a minimum care for your cat. It’s a reminder of the direct thread that connects your cat to her Raw Cat Ancestor.”

He is saying that if you want to relate properly to your domestic cat companion and provide her with a great life, you have to remember that you are interacting with an animal who is barely domesticated and who is driven by her wildcat instincts and motivations. He also says that cats build up energy which needs to dissipated in hunting or play and if this is unavailable it is like a balloon bursting and the cat does the zoomies and can even be a bit twitchy and unnecessarily aggressive.

So back to the question, “How do I know if my cat is bored?” Your cat is bored because they don’t have the facilities or circumstances in which they can express HCKE. That wild cat within is subdued. Sometimes it burst out in those cat crazies. This is undirected activity. If it was directed it would be directed towards hunting stalking and killing.

It is a great problem with the domestic cat. I think people forget that they are living with a top predator. A predator who needs to hunt and kill to be satisfied. It is their raison d’être; the reason for their life. You may think I’m being melodramatic but it is true.

Domestic cats are becoming more domesticated as the years go by. But it has been 10,000 years now and that wild cat is still near the surface. Entertain and stimulate your cat as much as possible. Make your home is cat friendly as possible. Play with your cat as much as possible. Build a catio to give her a little bit of the outside if she is confined to the inside. In short, do all you can to tap into that wild animal that she thinks she is.

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